Tropical Fish for Freshwater Aquariums: African Butterflyfish
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African Butterflyfish
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African Butterflyfish (Pantodon buchholzi)

Quick Stats

Minimum Tank Size 30 gallons
Care Level Moderate
Temperament Aggressive
Water Conditions 75-86° F, KH 1-10, pH 6.9-7.1
Max. Size 5"
Color Form Green, Tan
Diet Carnivore
Compatibility View Chart
Origin Africa
Family Pantodontidae
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Overview

The African Butterflyfish is common to many lakes across Africa and is an interesting fish. It spends most of its time hanging at the surface of the water, waiting for prey. The body is dark brown to black and is speckled with lighter colorations. The fins resemble the wings of a bird, giving this fish a look like no other. It does remain relatively small, but caution needs to be exercised, as this fish will swallow anything it can fit into its mouth.

The ideal set-up for the African Butterfly is an aquarium of at least 30 gallons with plenty of plants that reach near the surface that this fish can use for cover. They can handle a wide range of temperatures up into the mid 80's. These fish can jump out of the water, and can even glide short distances. It is therefore very important to have a tight fitting top on the aquarium to stop the fish from jumping out.

In order to breed the African Butterfly, lower the water in the aquarium to just a few inches for a few weeks. When refilling the aquarium, use soft acidic water. The male will then climb on top of the female at the water's surface. After about a day, the eggs will turn dark and will float to the surface. Remove these eggs to a separate aquarium with similar water conditions. The eggs will hatch in approximately two days and the fry demand the smallest live foods, such as baby brine shrimp and daphnia.

Feed the African Butterfly a steady diet of small fish, brine shrimp, insects and suitable freeze-dried foods.

Approximate Purchase Size: 1-1/2" to 3"

Customer Testimonials

Zach Nolan W , CT
 I've owned my African Butterfly fish for about 2 years now. It is an extremely unique looking fish, everyone tells me it looks like a dinosaur. Despite the fact that it is aggressive, I put it in a community tank with tetras, hatchetfish, and coreys. It doesn't bother any of them. It is a very shy fish so it usually runs and hides behind the filter when I open the hood. The hardest thing I found in caring for this fish is finding some sort of food that floats on the top long enough for it to actually feed. Because it's shy it doesn't really come out to eat until the hood is shut and it also takes it some time to find the food. I've found large cichlid pellets to be the best food for it because they never sink and they are large enough for this fish to actually notice the food (it doesnt see flakes or small pellets unless you put a large amount of food in the tank at once, so much that you are overfeeding). I also feed it moths whenever I get the chance. I would not mind having a few of these once I get a larger tank! If you have the space and want an exotic fish to fill in that space at the top of your tank, this is the fish for you!
Auzzy B Yelm , WA
Beautiful fish - I have it in with cichlids such as blood parrots and blue acara; these are the only fish out of my 66 cichlid species it can live. It is a very good fish, but can jump - though it is not likely. I feed mine small guppies and it has grown fast. The fish is easy to tame and hand feed.
Buck C South Lyon , MI
This is a very interesting fish to watch. Don't leave the tank lid open because these fish jump. I kept mine with 3 Jack dempseys in a 55 gallon. I fed it flakes, tubifex worm cubes, and it even ate feeder minnows and guppies!
Liz C New York , NY
I had one for years and they are the best fish ever! He was always the first one to food when I was feeding the tank... I had him in with my community tank and he never bothered anyone... But be careful when feeding because I think mine ate something it couldn't swallow and died... :(
Gerald C Joliet , IL
I just bought this fish and it seem s knd of shy and likes to hide behind the filter in my tank. Although its aggressive it seems to fine in my tank with it community of a Gold Severum, Leopard Ctenopoma, Red-tailed Shark and 2 Gouromies. Its eating bloodworms and flake food and doesnt seem to be aggressive with and of his tankmates. If you are looking to add some character to your fish tank then an African Butterfly will be right for you. I get many compliments from friends asking what kind of "oddball" fish that ? What a great addition to my tank. I love it !!!!
Shawn B Pompano Beach , FL
This fish is a great addition to your tank and very interesting to look at. They look like they would be a mean and aggressive fish but, we have yet to see any aggressive nature from our 2, in separate tanks. They are both in tanks with Hatchets, Killifish, Rams, Kribensises, Gouramis, Mollies, Platys, and a few other community and bottom feeding fish. We bought them floating plants, which they love to hang around in. As for food, we feed them TetraMin Tropical Flakes
Joey C Alburquerque , NM
Extremely peaceful! Beautiful addition to our 60g tank. Aggressive eater, but doesn't bother anyone else when eating.
Mitchell L Kiel , WI
I love these little guys. My 55 gallon tank currently has 3 and I plan on breeding them in the future. They gobble up just about every meaty food I give them. Watching them eat is one of my favorite parts of the day because of just how energetic of eaters they are. Mine are housed with leaf fish, plecos, and loaches and never leave the surface long enough to bother any of them. A great fish, very beautiful and interesting!
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